Kalmar v Debrecen, Champions League qualifier, July 22 2009
Evertonians should be particularly interested in this match. After a rather mundane off-season in the blue half of Merseyside, rumours are now speeding into overdrive that Kalmar’s highly rated 21-year-old Rasmus Elm is set to join the Toffees. But his current Allsvenskan side will be looking to their star midfielder as they attempt to overturn a 2-nil deficit from their first match in Hungary.
Aside from Elm (video evidence here), who has already chipped in with six goals in 15 matches this term, Kalmar’s dangermen are fellow midfielder Tobias Eriksson (four goals in 15 games this season) and Brazilian forward Daniel Mendes who has found the net six times this year.
With just one defeat and one draw in their last 10 matches in Sweden, fourth-placed Kalmar have own their last six back-to-back home matches and are well capable of winning again on Wedsnesday night.
For the visitors’ part, Debrecen are taking little comfort from last week’s home win with captain Zoltan Kiss saying the Hungarians will need “100 per cent” focus to qualify into the next round. And Debrecen have good reason not to count their chickens yet.
Debrecen have won four of the last five Hungarian titles, however despite dominating domestically, they have been unable to translate their form into the European arena. Debrecen have yet to reach the group stage of one of the major European competitions. But that could all be about to change if they can squeeze past the Swedes and then overcome the winner of the tie between Wisla Krakow and FC Levadia Tallinn in the third qualifying round.
Should that happen, then the Hungarians will be assured of a place in the Europa League at the very least.
101predicts: Kalmar 2 – Debrecen 0 (11/2)
Full match odds here.